Kyr­gios & co may fuel growth of Asian ten­nis

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

A top of­fi­cial of the ATP, gov­ern­ing body of men's pro­fes­sional ten­nis, says the emer­gence of youn­sters such as the Aus­tralian duo of Nick Kyr­gios, Thanasi Kokki­nakis and South Korean Chung Hyeon may fuel the growth of the sport in Asia.

"Last year, there were 20 play­ers in the top-200 from Asia. Com­pare this to 10 years back, when there were only few play­ers hail­ing from the re­gion.

I al­ways say that if we have 20 play­ers from this re­gion in the top 50, that will be the time when things will get re­ally ex­cit­ing for Asia," Ali­son Lee, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of the ATP said. Based in Syd­ney, Lee over­sees the ATP's busi­ness affairs in Aus­tralia, Asia, Middle East, Rus­sia and Africa. Be­sides th­ese re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Lee is part of the ATP Com­mer­cial team and chairs the ATP Chal­lenger Tour Com­mit­tee.

"For sure, I am pretty ex­cited about our new tal­ent, es­pe­cially with Nick Kyr­gios and Hyeon Chung this week in Dubai. Along with Nick [Kyr­gios], Kokki­nakis has rein­vig­o­rated ten­nis in Aus­tralia. And the good thing is that they are start­ing to have that im­pact glob­ally, not just in Asia," Lee told me­dia here on the fi­nal day of the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open on Satur­day.

Kyr­gios won his first ca­reer ti­tle in Mar­seille ear­lier this month and showed all signs that he was ready for back-to-back ti­tles till his pullout while trail­ing in the semi-fi­nal against even­tual cham­pion Stan Wawrinka on Fri­day.

Chung had mixed luck here af­ter be­ing knocked out in the first round of the sin­gles by fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, but the South Korean made it to the dou­bles semi­fi­nals along with his part­ner Jiri Ve­sely. Mel­bourne-based Kokki­nakis did not par­tic­i­pate in Dubai, but the 19-year-old has been show­ing fine form ris­ing to a ca­reer-high World No.71. One of Lee's ob­ser­va­tions in Dubai was that kids were com­ing up to ATP of­fi­cials and en­quir­ing about Kyr­gios and Chung.

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